Stocks in Europe, Asia Advance

Stocks in Europe and Asia rose as results at companies from appliance maker Electrolux AB to Aviva Plc, the biggest U.K. insurer, beat estimates, and governments stepped up efforts to revive growth., Bloomberg 2/4/2009 6:21:31 AM

Electrolux, the second-largest appliance maker, added 5.2 percent on a smaller-than-forecast loss. Aviva advanced 9.4 percent after saying sales rose 9 percent in 2008. PT Bank Danamon Indonesia rallied 5.7 percent as the country’s central bank cut interest rates. Citigroup Inc. increased 2.3 percent in Germany amid speculation President Barack Obama’s administration will guarantee banks’ illiquid assets against losses.

The MSCI World Index gained 0.3 percent to 846.12 at 1:23 p.m. in London, trimming its 2009 decline to 8.1 percent. The gauge of 23 developed countries is valued at 11.9 times the earnings of its 1,685 companies, near the cheapest since at least 1995, weekly data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Stocks extended their advance after a report showed companies in the U.S. cut an estimated 522,000 jobs in January as the economy weakened, less than the 535,000 median estimate of 23 economists in Bloomberg Survey.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 1.7 percent as Indonesia’s central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate for a third straight month. China’s government started investing the second allocation of a 4 trillion yuan ($580 billion) economic stimulus package, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

More than two stocks rose for every one that declined in Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index, which climbed 1.1 percent. A slump by Roche Holding AG and data that showed Europe’s services industries contracted for an eighth straight month in January and retail sales in the euro region declined more than economists expected in December limited the advance.

Japanese stocks rallied from a three- day drop as an unexpected gain in U.S. home resales sparked optimism a recovery in the global economy will prompt greater demand for materials. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 213.43, or 2.7 percent, to close at 8,038.94 in Tokyo.